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25 June 201410:45AMeurope-2014travel

So it took me a while, but I've finally gone and picked myself up a SIM card. It's from ASDA*, which I gather is basically Woolworths, but bigger, better, and Britter. This is a pattern I've been noticing a lot.

We are Brits, basically.

There's a concept in programming called inheritance. Basically, you can define a class of thing, and then copy that definition and make some changes to define a different class of thing, and so on and so on. It saves you a lot of typing and a lot of redundant definitions - in each case you're really only having to define what's specific to this class and the general stuff can come from the parent. Or it's parent, or it's parent. It's called subclassing.

Australian culture is very much a subclass of British culture, and you don't realise how much until you actually come here and everything is subtly the same. Usually when you go overseas, there's a certain sense of the exotic. Little things, like the street lights being weird, or the ads being incomprehensible, or the war memorials being different. England is just... not. It's not foreign. And that's probably the most foreign thing about it.

I'm not sure whether I prefer it that way or not.

That's not to say that nothing is different. It is. Like - to quote Death at a Funeral - "everything's so frickin' green". The grass isn't universally slightly dead, or with the unhealthy crunch that comes from water restrictions. The trees are properly green instead of the steely grey of eucalypts. There are plants and flowers that look like plants and flowers, and not... Well, this. You gotta wonder what the first English explorers thought when they stepped off their boat into a blasted orange hellscape filled with spiky stuff. This is something that you sort of know vaguely but don't appreciate until you see where these settlers were coming from: the place I live is a strange, alien landscape.

(This botannical rumination was prompted by an afternoon in St. James' Park, where we took a disgustingly soppy picture and fantasised about feeding the ducks.)


I'm not even sure that anyone notices that I'm Australian. Possibly there are enough Aussies here that talking to one in the supermarket is pretty standard. Nevertheless, I'm suddenly super conscious of my accent, and I keep getting this inexplicable urge to misbehave slightly and ham up the accent and perpetuate my national stereotype.

There's some different cultural stuff. Contrasting fonts, for starters - the UK government appears to have universally settled on sans-serif rather than serif fonts for their signage and documentation , with the fascinating exception of anything to do with the Royal Family, which uses serif fonts. Kids have to wear high-vis vests everywhere while they're on excursions (school trips? outings?). Everyone is a little quieter. The signs and ads are a little less brash and a little more wry. Slightly more book posters, slightly fewer movie posters. Maybe I'm reading too much into this. And everyone reads newspapers on the train, which I've just realised is because the underground is under the ground, which means there's no phone reception.

Mind you, if you can get over the constant clatter and inability to Google, and if you aren't riding at peak hour, it's a fair place to get your blog on...

*seriously the temptation to call it asdf is very strong but i have managed to resist

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